What Is A Master Managed Service Provider?

For those who are new to managed services, the term "master managed service provider" may sound like some industry jargon or a new certification. But in reality, working with so-called Master MSPs -- companies like Do IT Smarter or Ingram Micro's Seismic organization -- is one of the fastest ways to become a managed service provider. Here's why.

Generally speaking, Master MSPs provide integrated hosted services to VARs for a monthly fee. VARs, in turn, can offer the Master MSP services to their customers. The Master MSP approach allows the VAR to pay a flat monthly fee to the Master MSP, and eliminates the need for the VAR to build a network operation center (NOC), nor does the VAR need to outlay a big lump sum to acquire managed services software.

Sample Master MSPs include Do IT Smarter and Ingram Micro's Seismic offering. In recent months, Do IT Smarter VP Todd McKendrick has been on the road, evangelizing how the Master MSP model can allow VARs to quickly pick-and-choose selected managed services (for instance, managed print services, managed security services, etc.) for their customers.

Similarly, Ingram Seismic has a range of managed service options that VARs can select and offer to their customers.

Now, it seems, the Master MSP term has reached critical mass in the managed services market. During a phone chat March 14, Autotask CEO Bob Godgart described growing interest in a range of approaches that can tie together disparate managed service platforms.

Autotask, for instance, writes to application programming interfaces (APIs) to ensure its business automation software works with third-party MSP platforms (such as Kaseya's, among others).

But Godgart also mentioned the Master MSP model as a way for VARs to ensure all of their managed service programs work together.

"I believe Master MSPs will be the channel for companies that sell services to MSPs," says Godgart. "Similar to how Ingram became a distributor of multiple hardware products, you're seeing Master MSPs supply multiple managed services capabilities to VARs and MSPs. Master MSPs will provide all of the back-office services to the VAR."

Looking ahead, plenty of people wonder if Dell will evolve into a master MSP. The company has already acquired Silverback Technologies and Everdream, two MSP platform providers, and Everdream, which specializes in email security. The PC giant also is partnering on managed VoIP solutions.

If Dell continues on that acquisition path, it's conceivable that Dell will offer a Lego-like managed services platform, where VARs choose from a range of Dell-hosted programs that, in theory, can snap into a single Dell management dashboard.

In the meantime, companies like Do IT Smarter and Ingram Micro's Seismic team, among others, continue to position the Master MSP model as a way for VARs to quickly adopt managed services with minimal up-front costs.

TAGS: Sales
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